Senate, “squeezed between a rock and a hard place,” passed the Supplemental Budget bill SB 11-26, HD1 yesterday, in 8 to 4 votes in favor of the bill.
Implementation of the new Palau Public Utilities Corporation water and wastewater rates on May 1st pushed the Senators to accept the version of the bill proposed by the House of Delegates.
After months of working on President Whipps’s supplemental budget bill SB 11-83, SD5, and transmitting it to the House of Delegates (HOD) last week, HOD removed most of President Whipps’ budget items, removed Senate policy amendments, selected five (5) budget items, and placed them in a separate bill, SB 11-26, and sent it back to Senate.
The original proposed supplemental budget was a little over $ 5 million, but the House reduced it to $2 million. The only budget items included a $400,000 water/wastewater subsidy, $500,000 for Compact Review Advisory Group, $400,000 for Child Rearing Subsidy, $480,000 for Belau Games, and a new item of $200,000 for OEK.
Other items removed included budget items for the Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education, State governments, Pension Plan subsidy, Social Security Administration subsidy, National Scholarship Fund, Mechesil Belau Conference, Referral Committee, and others.
The Senate version of the supplemental budget also included amendments to the PGST law, which were also removed.
President Surangel Whipps Jr. is expected to sign the supplemental budget bill into law today during his State of the Republic Address.